Pupils at almost 14,000 elementary schools will vote on the mascots for Tokyo 2020 ©Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee have announced that pupils at almost 14,000 elementary schools in Japan have registered for the selection process of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots.

The total of 13,985 represents around 65 per cent of Japanese schools, including 92 Japanese schools in 51 countries and regions overseas.

Tokyo 2020 published a shortlist of mascot designs in December and invited schoolchildren across the country and in Japanese schools overseas to vote for their favourite.

The voting process closes a month from today with the result set to be announced on February 28.

Colette Schmidt, a pupil at an American school in Japan who voted last week, said: "It was a wonderful opportunity that kids got to choose the mascots.

"I had fun with my classmates, hearing what they thought about the mascots too."

Tokyo 2020 unveiled the potential mascots in December ©Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020 unveiled the potential mascots in December ©Tokyo 2020

Speaking at a Japanese school in Paris, London 2012 fencing silver medallist and President of the Japan Fencing Federation, Yuki Ota, said: "I'm really happy about this process of voting by kids.

"I think it's nice because the Olympic Games is important for the young generation."

Masa Takaya, Tokyo 2020's spokesperson, added: "The mascot voting is going very well, actually even better than we expected.

"The number of participating schools keeps growing, but more importantly, we have received positive responses from the children.

"At every school we have been to, we have seen children being completely focused on their mission and feeling involved in the 2020 Games' preparation.

"Their memories of this unique experience will be another legacy of Tokyo 2020, as we are aiming to engage a new generation in the Olympic and Paralympic Movement."

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place from July 24 to August 9 with the Paralympics from August 25 to September 6.